Walking vs. Running: Which is Better for You?

Get Moving

Walking vs. Running: Which is Better for You?

Can a brisk walk really be as good for you as a hard run?

According to research done at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, it sure can.

For this study,1 researchers looked at almost 34,000 runners and over 15,000 walkers, ages 18 to 80 (most in their 40s and 50s), over the course of six years. They found that both activities lowered the risk for a new diagnosis of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and coronary heart disease.

And regardless of which they chose – walking or running – the more people moved, the more their health benefits increased.

How much activity is enough?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. That’s 30 minutes, five days per week. And you don’t have to do the 30 minutes all at one time. Three, 10-minute brisk walks during the day is okay.

Doable, right?Walking is a great activity – it requires no special skills, no fancy gym membership, no pricey equipment. Just some space to walk and a good pair of walking shoes. So hit the road with these 6 walking tips in mind.

Walking tips for beginners

1.  Start Slowly. If you head out of the gate full on, you’ll burn out or injure yourself quickly.

If you’re not used to exercising, start with an easy walk around the block. As your stamina builds, go a little quicker for a little longer, each day, until you’re up to a minimum of 30 minutes per day of brisk walking.

2.  Keep Track of Your Progress. Nothing is more motivating than seeing improvement.

Write down the details of how long you’ve walked and how far you went for each workout. Post it on your fridge so you can see it (and pat yourself on the back) every day.

3.  Find a Walking Buddy. Making a commitment to a friend to walk every day will increase your chances of sticking with it. If you don’t know anyone who wants to walk with you, find a walking group at a local hospital or community center.

4.  Use Proper Walking Technique. Sure you know how to walk, but to get the most out of your walking workout and prevent injury, be sure to use the right form.

Imagine reaching the ceiling with your head. Your shoulders should be back and down, your arms bent naturally at the elbow. Your pelvis should be tucked under your torso and stomach pulled in tight. Put your heel down first, roll through the rest of your foot, then push of from your toes.

5.  Look Forward. Concentrate on driving your elbows back and forth, alongside your body (not side to side across your chest). Your feet will naturally follow.

Don’t look down, which will strain your neck and back. Instead, look 15 to 20 feet ahead of you, keeping your chin level with the ground.

6.  Find Your Pulse. Walking briskly is a pace of 3 miles per hour or faster.

Find your maximum heart rate by either exercising intensely for 20-30 minutes or by subtracting your age from 220. For example, the maximum heart rate for someone who is 50 years old would be 220 – 50 = 170 beats per minute (BPM).

To find your heart rate, place your index and middle fingers on your wrist (radial pulse) or neck (carotid pulse). Hold for 30 seconds and multiply by 2. You want to stay within 50% and 70% of your maximum heart rate.

Of course, before starting any exercise program, check with your doctor.

Ready to get out there and walk? One …. two …. three … go!

About Endurance Products Company

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1. Williams PT, Thompson PD. Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2013;33(5):1085-91. PMID: 23559628.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.